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NY Penal Law § 145.30: Unlawfully Posting Advertisements

The phrase “Post No Bills” is commonly seen stenciled  on scaffolding and walls up and down the streets of New York.  Nevertheless, advertisement flyers for parties, concerts, products, and services are seemingly ubiquitous. In a number of cases, a multitude of copies of the same advertisement are pasted across an entire wall. In spite of the prevalence of such posted advertisements, in general, it is against the law to post them.  It is a violation of the law to post an advertisement on another person’s property without their permission under New York Penal Law § 145.30.

For Example

In the case of the People v. Vinolas, 667 N.Y.S.2d 198 (N.Y. City Crim. Ct., 1997), the defendant, George Vinolas, was charged with unlawfully posting advertisements. Mr. Vinolas admitted that he used glue to affix advertisement posters on a wall of a particular building. What made the charge valid was that Mr. Vinolas did not have permission from the owner of the building to put up his flyers

Offenses that are Related

Making Graffiti: New York Penal Law § 145.60

Trespass: New York Penal Law § 140.05

Criminal mischief in the fourth degree: New York Penal Law § 145.00

Possible Defenses

If you can demonstrate to the court that you had permission from the owner of the building to post the flyers, then you have a valid defense against the charge. Under the statute, there is a presumption that if the advertisement that was posted was a commercial advertisement, then the vendor of that product, service or entertainment was responsible for posting that advertisement.  If, however, you are such a vendor, you can rebut the statutory presumption with evidence that a third party was responsible for posting the advertisements without your authorization.

The Sentence

Since unlawfully posting advertisements is classified as a violation and not a misdemeanors or a felony, if you violate New York Penal Code section 145.30, you could be looking at up to 15 days in jail. That said, since it is a violation and not a crime, a conviction will not go on your criminal record.

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